U.S. Consumer Prices Rise 0.3% In April, Slightly Less Than Expected

A highly anticipated report released by the Labor Department on Wednesday showed consumer prices in the U.S. rose by slightly less than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said its consumer price index increased by 0.3 percent in April after rising by 0.4 percent in March. Economists had expected consumer prices to climb by another 0.4 percent.

The report also said the annual rate of consumer price growth slowed to 3.4 percent in April from 3.5 percent in March, in line with expectations.

The monthly increase in consumer prices partly reflected a surge in gasoline prices, which shot up by 2.8 percent in April after jumping by 1.7 percent in March.

Excluding food and energy prices, core consumer prices still rose by 0.3 percent in April after climbing by 0.4 percent in March. The increase in core prices matched economist estimates.

The annual rate of core consumer price growth decelerated to 3.6 percent in April from 3.8 percent in March. The slowdown also came in line with expectations.

A continued increase in shelter prices helped lead the monthly advance by core prices, with shelter prices climbing by 0.4 percent for the third consecutive month.

Prices for motor vehicle insurance, medical care, apparel and personal care also rose, while prices for used cars and trucks, household furnishings and operations and new vehicles were among those that decreased.

“The CPI print offered a modicum of hope that inflation is cooling, albeit slowly,” said Quincy Krosby, Chief Global Strategist for LPL Financial.

She added, “The Fed will certainly need a series of cooler reports for adjusting its rate easing timetable, but the CPI report suggests that the path towards 2% is a bit less bumpy.”

On Tuesday, the Labor Department released a separate report showing producer prices in the U.S. increased by more than expected in the month of April.

The Labor Department said its producer price index for final demand climbed by 0.5 percent in April after a revised 0.1 percent dip in March.

Economists had expected producer prices to rise by 0.3 percent compared to the 0.2 percent uptick originally reported for the previous month.

The report also said the annual rate of producer price growth accelerated to 2.2 percent in April from a downwardly revised 1.8 percent in March.

Economists had expected the year-over-year producer price growth to inch up to 2.2 percent from the 2.1 percent originally reported for the previous month.

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